Thousands will be opting to take to the road instead of the air for their annual Thanksgiving Day visit to “grandmother's house. " Joel Burrows, a. k. a. “The Car Doctor" and vice president of training/R&D at Precision Tune Auto Care, has timely advice to help travelers keep their cars in good working order while saving money at the gas pumps this holiday season.
Before heading out, check your vehicle's fluid levels … oil, brake and radiator. Check all of the hoses. If any are frayed, cracked, mushy or leaking, have them replaced. If accessible, squeeze the hose. If a cracking sound is heard, this indicates internal wearing of the hose and necessitates replacement. For added peace of mind, The Car Doctor suggests having an air induction and fuel injection cleaning process performed. Especially if you notice that your car isn't performing as well as usual. Some service centers call it a fuel system service. Not only does this procedure help with many driveability issues, it is the one single procedure you can have performed that will make an immediate increase in fuel economy and performance. Check your tires’ air pressure. When tires aren't inflated properly, it can cost a mile or two per gallon, according to the Car Care Council. Check your tires’ air pressure when the tires are cold. Make sure they're all inflated according to the manufacturer's specifications. You can find this in your car's owner's manual or possibly on a chart inside one of the car's doors, on the gas cap, or on the trunk deck lid.
Use proper octane fuel. Higher-octane gas, which produces less energy, not only costs more, it also yields lower miles per gallon. Have a certified technician perform an engine and emissions analysis to ensure that the engine is running at maximum efficiency.
Maintain steady speeds; use over-drive and cruise control on the open road. Avoid making quick starts or stops. To avoid jamming on brakes, stay a good distance from the car in front of you. When possible, slow down simply by taking your foot off the gas. Every car has an optimum efficiency level, at which it operates best. However, most people drive at these speeds only 1 to 3 percent of the time. For most cars, the optimum speed is between 38 and 48 miles per hour, but any speed over 55 miles per hour causes your fuel efficiency to decrease. Plus, driving faster makes your tires heat up more, which causes them to wear out sooner. Drive smoothly. Whenever possible, avoid jerky stops and starts. If people drove more smoothly, they could increase their gas mileage from 300 miles per tank to 330, for example. Plus, driving more gently will decrease wear and tear on both your car's brakes and tires.
For safety bring a cell phone and road map. Once you arrive at your destination, have a wonderful holiday feast and remember to follow the above advice for the drive back home.
Leni Kass has been in marketing and public relations for over 15 years. Previously, she worked with teens, and facilitated a therapy group for adolescents with eating disorders. She is cofounder and CEO of Hey U. G. L. Y. , Inc. NFP, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that empowers teens with self-esteem building tools, to help them counter challenges such as eating disorders, bullying, violence, substance abuse and suicide. U. G. L. Y. is an acronym that stands for meaning Unique Gifted Lovable You.